I was invited by the founders of EYIF (European Young Innovators Forum), the leading Foundation for Youth Innovation in Europe, to speak at their annual Unconvention conference in Brussels about my experience in helping to create an innovation ecosystem. EYIF is an independent, non-profit, pan-European, bottom-up association reaching over 500,000 young people across Europe. The organization’s Board of Advisers encompasses leading Members of the European Parliament.
Following my stay in Brussels I had the opportunity to head south to Lisbon, Portugal courtesy my friends who lead Beta-i and the Lisbon Challenge. The Lisbon Challenge is the most international and challenging accelerator in Europe, where 25 startups get 1000+ workshops and mentoring sessions in 3 months, ending with an investor roadshow in Lisbon, London, Boston and São Paulo. I was invited to speak on the opening day of the challenge and met some amazing entrepreneurs working on businesses that will soon solve some really impressive business problems.
Digital DUMBO founder, Andrew Zarick discusses why professionals and businesses need an outlet and group of people to tap into to keep current. Read the PSFK write-up here.
Digital DUMBO is one of Brooklyn’s most successful community events platforms; they’re a great resource for anyone looking to identify digital thought leaders in NYC. Their sessions have a mixture of loosely and rigidly structured engagements (e.g. panels, mixers) between NYC’s digital community. We met up with their Founder Andrew Zarick to find out what drives their success and how they’re growth has driven the restructuring of their platform.
Last time we interviewed you was in January 2011. What’s changed in your platform and D.U.M.B.O since then?
Back in January 2011 we were still very much focused on getting the best and brightest digital influencers in a room with one another through our monthly dd:SOCIAL. We were preparing to host our 23rd social gathering and celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Digital DUMBO. At the time our community was around 3,000 members. In the three years since, we’ve grown to nearly 12,000 members. We’re one of the largest digital communities in the United States that organizes events regularly. There are obviously huge conferences that gather annually or bi-annually, but in terms of communities that gather in-person on an on-going basis, we’re one of the largest based on number of members.
We’ve been beneficiaries of the rise of digital as a tool that is changing every industry and the world. The pace of change is only accelerating. Professionals and businesses need an outlet and community to tap into to keep up. For this reason we’ve expanded our initiatives beyond our monthly social gathering (dd:SOCIAL) to include content and conversation (dd:COLLECTIVE), education and skill development (dd:EDUCATE), and a digital meets lifestyle conference (dd:IMPACT).As part of our four year anniversary last week we announced the dd:A-LIST which is a premium membership to Digital DUMBO and includes benefits across all of our initiatives including free and priority access to our social events, discounts to Digital DUMBO events and other industry events, and much more.
Friends and Family,
As many of you likely know, in January of 2009 I co-founded what at the time was a very small social gathering for professionals that work in digital media and technology in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, a 6 block area with over 120 technology companies and start-ups. This event was simply known as “Digital DUMBO Drinks.”
Over the past 4 years our small social gathering has grown into an organization and global community now known as Digital DUMBO. Today we have over 11,000 members with events taking place in Brooklyn, Boston, London, Valencia (Spain), and soon elsewhere. Since our founding, we’ve hosted over 60 events that have brought together more than 20,000 people.
As we’ve grown we’ve come to recognize the larger responsibility that we have as an organization to not only continue bringing together professionals that work at the forefront of digital media and technology, but also the need to create new initiatives that leverage our reach, influence, and relationships for the benefit of everyone.
“Digital” is not a thing that lives in a silo. It’s not an industry. It’s a tool that is changing every industry and the world at a pace that is only accelerating. This is something that needs to be discussed, new skill sets need to be developed, and communities around the world need to engage in a dialogue and innovate together.
Last week we announced a crowdfunding campaign to support two new initiatives, dd:COLLECTIVE & dd:EDUCATE, that add to our initiative set that works to bring together digital thought leaders, improve digital literacy, facilitate knowledge sharing, and provide a platform for shared thought leadership.
Our goal is a lofty one: $50,000. We aren’t asking for your financial help unless you feel so inclined. However, we are asking for your help in sharing our story – whether via word of mouth, email, or sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn More: http://www.indiegogo.com/digitaldumbo/
CEO, Digital DUMBO
This is a repost from NYU student Jessica Summer’s blog. Jessica is a graduate student at New York University’s Business and Economic Reporting program. Read the original post here.
On a weekday morning, the usual hustle of the city seems like a land far away in Dumbo, Brooklyn. While walking through the silent streets and passing by locally-designed clothing stores, hand-crafted art shops, vegan eateries, and empty playgrounds, the only noise seems to come from the train overhead, rattling across the Manhattan Bridge. Despite its serene façade, Dumbo is brimming with innovation, stemming from its thriving technology startup industry.
This is a repost of a Q&A I did for The Phat Startup – a website that “bridges the gap between hip hop and entrepreneurship.” Read the original post here.